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GrinnellGrubs food delivery service launched by two students

GrinnellGrubs was launched by Neal Stratton `24 and Lukas Roscoe ‘23 after seeing the lines to get into the Dining Hall. Photo by Isabel Torrence.

Neal Stratton `24 and Lukas Roscoe `23 recently launched the “GrinnellGrubs” food delivery service hoping to fill a niche in the local economy by delivering food items ordered from Grinnell-area restaurants to students on campus. They currently only serve items from Jay’s Deli and Hotel Grinnell.

GrinnellGrubs is presently available to take dinner orders on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. for their 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. delivery time slots and, starting Monday, Feb. 21, a “Late Night” delivery slot for 10 p.m.  It can be accessed via its website where the user will be prompted to make an order, pick their order and restaurant of choice and verify their purchase via email before delivery occurs at the first-floor common room of the dorm hall where the product is set to be delivered. As of right now, the service is only available to Grinnell College students but there is hope that consistent success could allow the service to become accessible to the entire community to use.

The two economics majors initially got the idea to start the food delivery service during winter break as a means of providing food to students who would rather not wait in the “Grab N’ Go” lines at the Dining Hall at the beginning of the semester.

“We were thinking about how it was going to suck having D-Hall be takeout only and we were like ‘I wonder if there was something we could do to make this situation suck less?’” said Roscoe. “So, we built a website on Square, designed posters on Canva, created an Instagram account, made a friend named Hayden [Bhavsar `24] who was willing to drive our orders for us and then GrinnellGrubs just became a thing.”

While still in the planning stages of GrinnellGrubs, the two students said that there was a lot of thought and consideration put into figuring out the demographic, engagement and logistical needs of a potential customer base. Some ideas the two thought of included a possible “logo-designing contest,” a “late-night” order slot for students suffering from the “midnight munchies” and a plan to research student engagement.

“One of the things we thought about doing was trying to research and process the demand from the different dorm halls,” said Stratton. “We didn’t know if North Campus might order more because of all the athletes who live there or South Campus because they get the munchies, so we gave some thought to tracking engagement and sales to figure out a logistical plan so that the most customers possible get their food the hottest and freshest quality we can guarantee.”

When the two students arrived back on campus, they decided to pursue this business venture after noticing a demand among students for more diverse and higher quality food options and a supply from some local restaurants in need of more frequent business amid financial and logistical struggles brought on by the pandemic.

“A big part of our vision is to help get small businesses in Grinnell back on their feet after COVID,” said Stratton. “When we talked to local owners, they told us that the pandemic was very financially rough on them, and that if we could bring in new and consistent clientele with GrinnellGrubs, it could be a helpful way to aid their recovery from the economic effects of COVID-19.”

Though still in its infancy as a company, GrinnellGrubs’ ultimate vision is to eventually expand to serve all of Grinnell, and Roscoe and Stratton hope to see a rapid expansion of food and location options available.

Stratton and Roscoe currently have not included a feature allowing customers to tip either themselves or workers from the participating restaurants.

“That is something we want to build in soon,” said Roscoe. “As of right now, our focus is on keeping consumer prices as low as possible so we can let them try out and test our product. If we see that there is enough of a sustained interest in our service and demand becomes high enough to maintain cost-effectively, then we will probably add a tipping feature.”

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